Jacques Cartier Bridge bike path will be closed this winter — again

Last year, the federal bridge authority spent $1.67 million testing ways to clear snow off the multipurpose path but didn't come up with a solution.

Bridge authority spent $1.67M testing ways to keep it open but didn't find a solution

Get those rides in while you can, cyclists, because the bike path on the Jacques Cartier Bridge will close again this year when the wintry weather arrives. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

The Jacques Cartier Bridge bike path will not be open this winter, the federal bridge authority has announced.

The 2.7-kilometre path closes every year at the first sign of wintry weather, to the dismay of many cyclists who use it to travel between Montreal and the South Shore.

Last year, Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI) spent $1.67 million testing out ways to clear snow off the path, with the aim of keeping it open in subsequent winters.

The bridge authority offered a shuttle bus service between Montreal and Longueuil for cyclists, while it looked into organic and chemical de-icing techniques, as well as conventional and unconventional methods of removing snow.

But the pilot project did not come up with a conclusive method to get rid of the snow and thus keep the path open, said JCCBI senior director of Projects and Construction Catherine Tremblay, in a news release.

And so, despite the efforts, the path will still be closed this winter.

The issues, the JCCBI says, are threefold:

  • The "complex weather conditions" of the St. Lawrence River mean the path's surface is conducive to the formation of black ice.
  • The path has an "atypical geometry" — it is narrow, long and has steep slopes and tight turns. It is also made of an elevated concrete slab, approximately 15 centimetres thick, which makes it "highly reactive to the harsh and changeable conditions, compared to a path located on a roadbed, which insulates the road surface."
  • Ice tends to fall from the superstructure above the bike path, and the bridge authority hasn't figured out how to protect users from that danger.

More studies will be done in the coming months to try and figure out how to deal with those challenges, said the JCCBI.